How To Frame a Photo Like a Polaroid

Download a Ready-to-Use Polaroid Frame Kit for Your Photos

Polaroid frame effect around photos
This kit will help you quickly add a Polaroid frame to any photo without having to create the frame from scratch.

Sue Chastain

We recently posted a tutorial on how to turn a photo into a Polaroid using Photoshop Elements. Now we have created a ready-to-use Polaroid frame so anyone can quickly add a Polaroid frame to any photo without having to create the Polaroid frame from scratch. You should be able to use the Polaroid frame in any photo-editing software with layers capability and support for PSD or PNG file types — both formats are included in the zip file.

The real magic for this "How To ..." is what you do with the image placed in the Polaroid frame. You can create a pretty interesting composition by using Color Overlays, Blend Modes, Adjustment Layers, Textures and Clipping Masks in Photoshop. On the surface that might appear to be a lot of work but, as you will see, it really isn't as complex as it first seems. They key is to pay attention to the effects you are applying and resisting the temptation to "overdo" it. The real art in this is nothing more than the Art of Subtlety.

How to Add a Polaroid Frame

  1. Download and extract

  2. Open one of the two Polaroid frame files (PSD or PNG version) in your photo editing software.

  3. Open the photo you want to put into the Polaroid Frame.

  4. Select an area of the photo, slightly larger than the portion of the photo you want to show through the frame.

  5. Copy the selection, go to the Polaroid frame file and paste. The photo selection should go onto a new layer.

  6. Move the photo layer so it is below the "Polaroid Frame" layer in the layer stacking order.

  7. If necessary, move and resize the photo layer so it shows through the cutout in the Polaroid Frame, without sticking out around the edges.

Polaroid images always seem to have an over-saturated look to them. Follow these steps to create that look in Photoshop CC 2017:

  1. Select the image layer and duplicate it.

  2. Select the Duplicate layer and set its Blend Mode to Soft Light.

  3. With this layer still selected, select Color Overlay from the fx pop-down menu.

  4. When the dialog box opens choose a dark blue color, set the Blend mode to Exclusion and reduce the Opacity to about 50%. Click OK accept the change and close the Color Overlay dialog box.

  5. Next, we darken the image by adding a Levels Adjustment Layer and moving the black slider on the left to the right. Click OK to accept the change

  6. With the Adjustment Layer still selected, set its Blend Mode to Soft Light and adjust the Opacity to intensify the color.

  7. With the Adjustment Layer still selected, add a Color Overlay from the fx pop down. Choose an orange color. Set the Blend Mode to Soft Light and the Opacity to around 75%. Click OK to accept the change and close the Layer Style dialog box.

  8. Add a text layer and enter some text. Choose a fun font- we chose Marker Felt - that has either a wide or bold weight.

  9. To give it the "Marker Look", we added an image of some sand, right clicked on it and selected Create Clipping Mask from the Context menu. The sand was applied as the fill for the text

  10. To add some color to the text, add a Color Overlay to the texture. In this case, we chose a dark grey color, set the Blend Mode to Normal and reduced the Opacity to around 65% to give the text a bit of a streaked look.


  • If you are using Photoshop Element see the last 2 steps in the Polaroid Frame tutorial for some ideas on how to embellish the Polaroid photo.
  • If you use Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, after step 6 in the first half of this "How To", you can use the "Layer > Group with Previous" command to ensure the photo remains inside the frame.
  • If you want to add a bit more color drama to the image, feel free to add a couple more layers with Color Overlays.
  • The files in the zip are low-resolution files, suitable primarily for screen display. If you want a Polaroid frame that is suitable for printing, you should follow the tutorial to create one from scratch.